The First Starbucks – 1912 Pike Place

Melody invites you on a trip to the first Starbucks: Imagine it’s a Sunday morning at about 7:30 a.m.  You’re visiting Seattle and decide to drop by the first Starbucks and beat the crowds.  Pike Place Market is just starting to open and many of the shops are still closed.  Beecher’s Cheese is still closed but Piroshky Piroshky, a few doors down from the first Starbucks, is already open.  You grab a freshly-baked cardamom cinnamon braid roll from Piroshky Piroshky.  Mmmm. It’s warm, in the high sixties, and you actually found a reasonable parking spot three blocks away because it’s still early.  What are you going to find at this special Starbucks? In this blog post, together we’re going to go have a delicious hand-crafted beverage at 1912 Pike Place.  Let’s go inside and meet the store manager and have a nice quick visit to 1912 Pike Place Starbucks:

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The Market:  You arrive at Starbucks and notice the simple lettering above the door.  The red brick road in front is empty. That’s because it is 7:30 on a Sunday morning.  Don’t drive down this road.  Don’t even try.  If you’re a local, you’ll know that pretty much you have to park in a lot, or find street parking, and walk a few blocks to the market.  If you’re a tourist, you might try driving down this road and find that it’s blocked off to cars because of street vendors.  And even if the street is open, you might find that you will move at under 5 miles per hour for a frustrating two or three blocks, and wait even longer to try and negotiate your way through a massive crowd of people filling this street.  Dear tourists, there is almost no such thing as “Doris Day” parking at Pike Place Market.  However be sure to check all the little shops up and down Pike Place and at the Market.  You will find everything from the fish market, to a grocery store called “Pear”, to a Seattle’s Best Coffee in Post Alley.

Inside the Store:  You step inside the store.  On the north wall of the store there is a world of special merchandise available only at this Starbucks. (Although in March of 2009, Starbucks started letting the store at 1st and Pike sell some of this merchandise too, but outside of those two stores, there is NO Starbucks selling the limited merchandise made for the Pike Place Starbucks.)  What to choose?  A wall of special Pike Place barista bears is looking for a good home.  You could take home some Pike Place Special Reserve coffee. Pike Place Special Reserve is NOT the same coffee as Pike Place Roast.  The floors look like early 20th century hardwoods that have been trafficked by literally a million feet.  (I assume that at some point the floors have been updated or something, but they’re so worn and weathered that definitely those floors have been there for a long long time).  Remember that at this store only, there is a special Starbucks card.  You can see an image of the 1912 Pike Place card here.  (The framed and signed card).

Meet the Store ManagerNow once inside the store you meet the store manager and some baristas.  Of course, on this visit to 1912 Pike Place, the store manager immediately greeted me by name and smiled big and said “Hi Melody!”.  This store manager (Chad) is a totally nice and wonderful guy.  I am so glad he has this special store.  Chad introduced me to new a barista having recently transferred into his store.  He says, “Hey Melody meet Deb! She transferred here from Snohomish County.”  (Obviously none of this is verbatim).  Turns out Deb came from one the stores up north that briefly had Sorbetto in it. Oh how I loved Sorbetto … but I digress.  Chad and I made small talk and I told him that I wanted to show off and feature his store in an upcoming blog post! Chad graciously agreed to a picture of him for the blog.  But don’t worry: Chad is this friendly and welcoming to all his customers!  It’s a fact, if you’re a Starbucks partner at 1912 Pike Place, you will end up in a million photographs!  Chad has had his picture taken many times at this store.

Order a beverage:  The next thing we need to do is order a drink! What are you having? Chad asked me what I was having so I asked for a “doppio con panna“.  Chad remembered that I only like this drink in a small porcelain demi-tasse cup.  If this beverage is made in a paper cup, it doesn’t taste right to me.  The whip cream will stick to the sides of the paper cup, making it difficult to drink.  The only way to have this beverage is in porcelain.  This is my favorite store for a doppio con panna. Beautifully hand-tamped shots.  Starbucks Espresso Roast.  It’s amazing.  There is no other store where I can have this beverage exactly like this.  Even at 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, or Roy Street Coffee the baristas use a single-origin bean or a different blend for their espresso beverages.  I have heard it said often that a single-origin coffee or a better blend is superior to Starbucks Espresso Roast.  Maybe I have a pedestrian palate, but I genuinely like Espresso Roast, which is not available at 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea.  On this morning, Chad said he needed to check his shots and so he pulled a couple into shot glasses right before making my delicious hand-crafted beverage.  I took a picture of the shots that Chad was carefully watching to get them just right (those were the shots he pulled to ‘check them’) and also a picture of Chad putting the whip cream on my beverage.  This is the ONLY Starbucks using a La Marzocco machine.  The Espresso Roast is measured out, ground, and hand-tamped for your beverage.  There is no food at this Starbucks, but there is a complete beverage menu including Vivanno smoothies, and Frappuccinos also.

Hope you enjoyed your trip to 1912 Pike Place!

The first ten people who leave a comment on this blog post will receive a free bag of Pike Place Special Reserve (sold in half-pound size only).  The first ten people who use the “tweet this” button and tweet this blog entry will get a $5.00 gift card. But there are some conditions to this flash contest: All participants must be over age eighteen. Participants must have a postal address in the United States, Canada, or the U.K.  Winners (meaning the first 10 who leave blog comments) must email me at Sbux206@StarbucksMelody.com. The email must include legal name, user name at this site, and twitter profile name if applicable, and postal address.  No spam comments permitted, and no links in comments. If you are tweeting this blog post, please put “@SbuxMel” somewhere in your tweet to tag me, so that I can find that you did tweet this blog post.  Write in your comment “I tweeted this blog post too!”. Whew! That’s a lot of work, but heck, I would do it for a Starbucks card and/or coffee.  Hope you enjoyed this trip to 1912 Pike Place, in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

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100 Comments

  • Christopher

    I tweeted this one for you melody, it’s a good one. sadly it’s the closet I’ll ever get to come to pike place I think…

  • jetblue711

    Really off topic, sorry Melody but…the Sacramento area (Northern CA) just got it’s first Clover Machine. The Starbucks on Sunrise and Gold River launched it today! Myself and a fellow partner drove down to experience it and it was amazing. She had Ethiopia Limu and I had the Jamaica Blue Mountain which was awesome. The chocolate stood out along with a slight nutty aftertaste. It was surprisingly heavy (felt almost like Aged Sumatra) but I love that, not to mention it was the best cup of coffee I have ever tasted! The partners there were saying that many customers didn’t want to break out of routine to try it today and were hoping for more converts this weekend. We’re planning on bringing more partners down to try it next week and hopefully I’ll get some picture for you all because it is a beautiful store as well.

  • Steve

    Phooey I didn’y know there was a contest.

  • Nob

    @AmazonV Congratulations. 😀

  • camspi

    @JetBlue711 I would be so frustrated as a partner if I were working at that store and customers didn’t want to try it! But I could understand that happening, too. When we’re sampling VIA, there are a lot of people who don’t even want to try it, even if we’re genuinely enthusiastic about it. (Not comparing VIA to Clover. Just that people don’t want to try new things.) A lot of customers at my store have their routine, too, which is perfect because that means Starbucks is a good part of their every day life… but sometimes they don’t know what they’re missing!

  • denise r.

    just wanted to say that you, Melody, are one of the kindest, smartest, sweetest, generous, people I have ever known. (there are about….really….2 maybe 3 others who meet that criteria in my real 57 yr old life) It’s a rare combo. and I thank you.

  • Melody

    @Everyone who has posted in this thread – I need to update the list of contest winners. There are a few people who have posted in this thread who they are and I need him or her to email me.
    @DeniseR – You will give me a big head! Thank you for saying that.
    @JetBlue711 – Over on MSI, a regular user there had talked often that his local Starbucks was getting a $300k remodel and a Clover – Gold River, California which is just outside of Sacramento. I am all for a short trip down there. California is a short trip thankfully! I need to update my list of Clover locations in a previous blog post because there are apparently two in NJ, one in Savannah, GA, and Gold River, California. If I manage to get to Gold River, CA, it will be some time in the 1st week of August because my courtroom is really slow that week and I can break away. I love hearing about your tasting of Limu and JMB. I like the Limu but there are so many good coffee options right now that Limu doesn’t stand out.
    @Steve – The contest was in the last paragraph of this blog article. You didn’t read that far I guess.

  • Melody

    @JetBlue711 – Would you help me out with my visit to Gold River, Calif? It would be helpful to have the store number of the new Clover store. Also, if you know the area, do you know of a nice hotel very very close to this Starbucks? If not, I’ll manage to figure it out, but it sounds like you know the area a little bit. ?

  • purple1

    Melody- I have to repeat again as others have said and congratulate you on your continued devotion to this blog and all the incredible info you share about SB. MSI needs to take a lesson or two from you.

  • Steve

    Oops Melody I’ll try to do better next time. Incidentally I walked counter clockwise at Greenlake this morning and cut my walk short and went to Starbucks’ Greenlake store for some Gazabo iced coffee for a treat receipt and I gotta tell you I wasn’t too impressed. Maybe I got too much ice because it just tasted like ice water.

  • Mike

    Thanks for the virtual tour. This is definitely one of the many coffee shops that I’m going to visit next time I’m in Seattle to visit my brother. He already got me a mug from there, the least he could do is show me to the actual store.

  • WO

    @Camspi

    On of the biggest reasons I found that people don’t want to try something new is they are afraid they won’t like it. They don’t realize that they are not allowed to leave the store without something that they love. They the new drink/flavor/etc. If you don’t love it, they will make your old favorite. No problem. Most people don’t know this, and aren’t willing to “throw away” $5_ on a drink they aren’t sure they will like. So the fix? sample sample sample

    …just my 2 beans
    WO
    twitter/@WOnet

  • Alexander

    Well, I didn’t win the 10 comments contest but I still retweeted it!

  • Mrs. Tillinghamshackles

    Mel, I had no idea that 15th Ave Coffee & Tea doesn’t use Espresso Roast! Do you know which coffee they use?

  • jetblue711

    @Melody
    I’ll look up the store number soon and find some hotels near there for you. I can’t think of any right next to it but I think there are some a couple exits up on the freeway. It’s about 15min outside of the capitol so there are plenty of things to do.

  • Lita C. Malicdem

    “Starbucks” coffee connotes elitist tone here in my country, the Philippines, due to one reason- it’s costly as it is hmmmm terrific! Thank you for stopping by my blog. I’m coming back for more read here.

  • jetblue711

    Can’t seem to find the store number without going into my store (which I’m on vacation now) but the address per Starbucks.com is:
    2095 Golden Center #10
    Gold River, CA 95670 US
    (916) 853-9728
    And there are a couple hotels just over the freeway (US 50) off the Sunrise exit you will take to get there. The nicest is a Marriot:
    11211 Point East Drive
    Rancho Cordova,CA 95742
    Good luck, can’t wait to see your post about the store!

  • Brendan206

    Such a neat visit! Believe it or not, I’ve lived in Seattle for several years and still haven’t been to the Pike Place store! I’m always afraid it will be crowded. It never occurred to me that a store without seating would offer ceramic cups, but a quick doppio con panna in a demitasse sounds delightful! Especially from the La Marzocco!

  • Melody

    @jetblue711 – Thank you for your help. I’m still trying to make a visit to Gold River work in the first week of August.

  • Melody

    @Everyone – I got most of the prizes from the contest out in the mail today, though not all. It’s a lot of work! @Christopher – Your $10 gift card went out in the mail – Yes you got included in the tweet part of the contest. @Barista – I had you listed for a bag of Pike Place Special Reserve, but it I have never heard from you at all – I don’t know where you are or a best address. It appears that’s the only time you’ve commented on my blog. ?? Please email me at Melody@StarbucksMelody.com

  • Hayley

    @Brendan206 – Unbelievable! You’re in Seattle, a Starbucks fan and have never gone!
    That’s it! That’s your homework for the weekend mister :)

  • CABarista

    finally catching up! What an incredible post!
    Interesting point about the con panna! Never thought about it, I’ve never made/tried one to go!
    I hope one day to come and visit this store and bring home some special coffee to share!! Thank you so much Melody!

  • Amanda

    Very cool post

  • amy

    What an awesome blog post!!! Can the Pike reserve be ordered online?

  • Sammy

    Greetings form Germany. Thanks for this post. I have actually tested the new Pike Place Roast in my blog.
    I was just looking around for some other stuff of my blogpost, then i found your great Blog.

  • Kaori

    Hi Melody! I just came back from starbucks to read this post because the Pike Place Roast is available here starting today! And I remembered you had a post about the first starbucks store here. The baristas at my regular starbucks store made this handwritten booklet about the coffee and the shop in Pike Place Market…it’s really cute! And we have mugs and tumblers with the old starbucks logo…but darn, no bearista :-)

  • Schedule

    Maybe you should edit the webpage subject The First Starbucks – 1912 Pike Place to more better for your webpage you write. I liked the post withal.

  • Melody

    @Schedule – Welcome to the blog. Hope you’ll come back again. I approved your comment with some hesitation. To be honest, I really wasn’t sure what you were trying to say or what your tone of voice, but I’m just giving you the benefit of the doubt and approving it.

  • purple1

    Melody very strange comment by Schedule. Not sure also what he was saying or wanting you to accomplish. I can’t understand what issues he had with this thread.

  • Melody

    @purple1 – At first I interpreted his comment as spam because there is a link in his name, but then I just wasn’t sure. The link goes to a basketball schedule. In the end, I just approved it thinking he can come back and clarify…

  • Steve

    I gotta agree with Purple Melody. I read Schedule’s post about five or six times and am still confused. What to they mean by “more better for your webpage you write” and what is “withal”?

  • WO

    @Melody,

    I agree with everyone regarding the weirdness of the comment from @Schedule. The link, is to a past basketball schedule (4 years ago). You can’t even get to it from the main schools website (even though it is on their site). However, it can be found via google, AND various archives. I did not see anything “odd” in the code, in his post, or the linked page. While the comment doesn’t add or detract from your site, it would probably be best to edit, and remove the LINK, in the name, just in case.

    …just my 2 beans
    WO
    @WOnet

  • Steve

    What link? I went back and read his post again and did not see any link.

  • WO

    @Steve
    The link is actually in his name. Same how both yours and mine are.

    …just my 2 beans
    WO
    @WOnet

  • Steve

    Oh thank you WO. I always wondered why some of our names were in green and some were in black. I thought there was a link in his post. Guess I should have paid more attention to the last line of your post where you said “remove the LINK, in the name”.

  • BaristaAQU

    Espresso conpana is always my favorite one. In korea you always taste doppio espresso con pana with La marzzoco. :) Always dense caramelly taste!!

  • Melody

    Hi there BaristaAQU – I’ve heard that some of the international markets have La Marzoccos. I think that is so cool. I wrote about Starbucks in the Philippines on this blog once, and the store I featured had a La Marzocco. Cool that you have them in Korea too. There was a small loss of magic when Starbucks ripped those out of stores … I hope for you that yours never changes. And glad to meet another doppio con pana fan!

  • Amy B.

    I Thank you very much again for the bag of pikes place reserve…I need to go to seattle just so I can get another bag

  • BCav (TheCoffeeNinja)

    Oh my gosh, Melody! Are those bearista bears a permanent item there? I want one! Sooo cute! I can’t wait to visit this place! Hopefully soon!

  • TheCoffeeNinja » Blog Archive » Happy Big 4-oh, Starbucks!

    […] quality arabica coffee for it’s customers. The “original” store location is at 1912 Pike Place in the Pike Place Market, Seattle WA. The store front remains untouched, with the original sign and everything! Howard Schultz joined the […]

    • Rhonda L

      Heading here in June July-so excited!!!!!!

    • Joyce Shields

      I just bought the 1999 ceramic replica of the 1912 starbuck store at the goodwill today and am trying to research it.

    • jer

      dear melody,you have a great page and lots of info. that I have read to help my collection. over 275 ceramic mugs and 100+ tumblers. my question is …..I do not know how to sell on e-bay, also my mom is quite ill and I am not home, as I am trying to keep mom in her’s. I read recently that there was a issue of a blank bottom on a starbucks white ceramic mug with full old logo(belly button etc) I have one, in excellent quality, I think I know what one sold on e-bay, but my daughter is getting married and I am trying to buy her wedding dress. I am sorry to drag on but I have m.s. and am disabled….so I need some financial help. If you know or can help me could you let me know. thanks so much jer at 1redtractor@comcast.net

    • Melody

      @Jer – Welcome to the blog. Hope you’ll click “like” on the blog’s facebook page and/or subscribe.

      http://www.facebook.com/pages/StarbucksMelody/180068562003180

      I apologize but I probably don’t have anything to say that you’ll want to hear. The reality is that I just don’t have the time to help anyone with buying or selling anything. This blog is a place where I hope that people who read it will find the content very informative, and that hopefully people will engage in interestng Starbucks-related conversations in the comments, but there’s nothing about this site that is designed for any kind of buying or selling Starbucks collectibles.

      I get emails on a regular basis. People ask where to sell or buy Starbucks stuff? I can barely keep up on the blog, and at this point, I simply won’t help anyone with the whole buying and selling thing. I hope you can find a friend to help you work through Craigslist or ebay. I’m quickly writing you on a lunch hour, and I hope you find a buyer. I am really sorry for your situation – sounds like you need money. You’re welcome to join in the content here, and talk about Starbucks, but I am not in the market to buy Starbucks stuff (I probably have too much now), and I don’t have time to facilitate buying and selling. Given all the emails I get, someone could set up a website just to do that.

      Best of luck to you!

      Melody

    • jer

      dear melody,
      thanks so much for just the info. no problem about your answer. I will do more looking to find more about this mug. I don’t really look at I as a low income person, but just a mommy wanting to buy my daughters wedding dress. thanks again jer.

    • Rich

      So this is where it all began! Thank you Pike Place!!!!

    • Anna

      Where’d all the comments go?

    • Kendrella

      I’m going to Seattle in September and can’t wait to visit this store!

    • Linda Ann Reynolds

      Thank You so much for the fabulous tour!!!!!!! I want to move close to 1912 Pike Place. Such nostalgia is priceless. Hope one day to be able to visit. Love, linda.

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